There have been recent discussions about the maintainability and sustainability of Drupal core. They highlighted a significant lack in the number of skilled Drupal contributors. So the question is: how can we improve the quality of contributions and increase the quantity of skilled contributors?
Simple: strengthen contributors and bring new ones on board. DrupalCons are a great opportunity for that. They allow work that usually happens behind the scenes to become more visible. But currently, we only have a code sprint at the end of days, Armageddon, at which point everyone is exhausted and time is limited — ultimately ineffective.
We can improve on that! Let's kick off DrupalCon with a mentored contribution sprint on Monday. Let's place "contributing" at the heart of the conference. Let's provide a structured process for involving people of all levels of expertise to contribute throughout the conference. And let's make it fun, social, and visible.
Add new content.
Complement the code sprint with "mentoring sprints" starting on the day before the conference, parallel to the commercial trainings. Experienced Drupalists mentor small teams of aspiring contributors.
- Further increase the number of Drupal contributors.
- Increase the skill level of existing contributors by learning directly from seasoned Drupalists.
- Foster inclusive and sustainable practices for contributing to Drupal.
Not intended to:
- Attempt certifications. (no, really not)
- Distract from trainings.
- Separate people into different classes like "rockstars" and "newbies."
- Replace final code sprint on Friday.
Mentoring sprints are not restricted to programming. Contributing to Drupal takes many forms - some concrete examples:
- Code sprints, led by proficient core and contrib contributors
- Documentation sprints, led by documentation team members
- Usability sprints, led by usability team members
- Triage sprints, to write issue summaries, patch reviews
- Marketing sprints, to write case studies, preparing showcases
- Translation sprints, led by translation team coordinators
Users, err... People
Mentoring sprints are not exclusive "elite" events; they address all levels of expertise. These sprints are for everyone; however:
- We need to attract people who are already motivated to participate in the Drupal community.
- Participants are required to be prepared for the topic in the sprint at hand.
Reasons for participating
- Get mentored by "experts" — that is, people who just happen to know more than you in a certain area.
- Give back to the community.
- Be productive and have fun!
All mentoring sprints share a fixed pattern. In particular they
- have a clear and manageable scope
- consist of small teams (5-10 participants)
- aim for tangible results within a short period of time (0.5 - 1 day in total)
- could publicly showcase their progress and results in BoFs and sessions during DrupalCon
- might even lead to appreciative exposure of outstanding contributors in the closing session of DrupalCon
Rules (of the game)
- Parallel to commercial trainings.
- No one gets paid.
- Sprints are submitted by mentors before the conference.
- Participants sign up for sprints, and there is a limited number of participants per sprint.
The following fun ideas will only be possible if there is sufficient interest and volunteer commitment to turn them into reality. If you like these optional modules, comment here and ask for a follow-up post about these "contrib" modules!
Replace the coder rooms with a contributor lounge, a social "Contributor bar" (like the Genius bar). Don't make people shy away from contribution rooms. Essentially, just add a drink and coffee box.
Make them a central, inviting hub; a dedicated contributor lounge to have a space for these activities at the venue.
Achievements & Badges
Provide real, physical badges to honor participants and mentors for concrete achievements; e.g., "I participated in the Marketing sprint" or "I mentored a sprint" :)
This will happen for DC Munich 2012.
What's needed for this to happen? We need sprint topics and mentors, and we need dedicated rooms at the conference on Monday.
- 5 months before: Call for mentors and define "topics." (Denver?)
- 4 months before Select mentors and call for participants.
- 2 months before: Select participants. Mentors brief participants about sprint topics.
- 2 weeks before: Virtual/IRC meeting to prepare actual sprint tasks.
- Monday: Mentoring sprints (parallel to trainings)
- During DrupalCon: BoFs, sessions, feedback
- Afterwards: Retrospective (evaluation)
We need feedback, volunteers, and central coordinators for the mentoring sprint day!
Tell us what you think.Submitted by sun on 14. October 2011 - 1:49